In the eight years since the start of Local Furniture Outlet, the cherished baby business of Mr. Aaron Masterson has grown up fast—from a 2,000-square-foot metal warehouse to four locations and more than 80,000 combined square feet of furniture. But the success didn't go to Aaron’s head. The proud father still traverses showrooms in casual flip-flops, enforcing a no-competition policy so that loyal staff members don’t feel pressured to make a quota. The stripped-down showrooms allow for lower price tags on direct-from-manufacturer brands such as Ashley, Simmons, and Crown Mark. Patrons are invited to peruse dining-room, living-room, and bedroom sets—or “kick the tires,” as Aaron puts it—without the pushy-push of larger retailers, who may use turkey legs to reward team members for sales.
Vera Auvil's passion in life has always been cultivating knick-knacks and odds-and-ends—her "sweet nothings," as her husband used to say—so when the opportunity to purchase her own store came her way, she knew she wanted to fill its shelves and aisles with her favorite little things: clothes, jewelry, home décor, and makeup. She christened the shop Auvil's Sweet Nothings and set to work cultivating local artisans and national vendors who proffer goods such as De Novo, Waterford crystal, and Yellow Box Shoes. The skilled staffers at her vendor-based store can even help clients brighten smiles with Beaming White teeth-whitening services, make-over mugs with Jane Iredale cosmetics, and learn to cheat during shopping-cart races.
Experienced art instructors at Vino2VanGogh guide fledgling students through three-hour painting productions within the inviting walls of a cavernous, trendy studio. The studio supplies artistic equipment, gourmet cheese trays, wine openers, ice buckets, and glasses, though students should bring their own wine and Fun Dip snacks. Students follow seasoned painters as they walk through step-by-step painting processes, and a Bose sound system serenades them with the dulcet melodies of Pandora radio. The studio recommends arriving to classes 20 minutes early to mingle with fellow classmates or to warm up creative muscles with rigorous lunges.
The Ukraine, 1914. Sam Braslau, the son of a miller, has saved enough money to immigrate to America. When he arrives, he peddles clothing from a horse-drawn buggy to earn the money to send for his brothers. In 1925, the brothers open the first Braslau’s—a dry-goods store. In 1927, the brothers expand their scope, adding furniture to their inventory. With this decision, they ensure that their name would stay on the lips of design-minded homeowners for the rest of their lives and beyond.
Today, Braslau's Fine Home Furnishings has evolved into a 70,000-square-foot furniture showroom, where Blake Breslau continues to hone his family’s accumulated knowledge and experience in the furniture industry. Inside, customers browse desks, chairs, sofas, and dinettes from brands such as Ashley Furniture, Broyhill, Klaussner Home Furnishings, and LaCrosse. In the sleep center, mattresses from Sealy, Simmons, and Tempur-Pedic promise the perfect night’s sleep, or the perfect testing ground for amateur trampoline routines.
Posted 2 miles away from the historic Lexington Battle Green, the staff at Armstrong Flag Company take pride in the stars and stripes. The company specializes in American flags, made in the United States with domestic materials, and also has a vast selection of flags for countries all over the globe. Novelty flags unfurl and run up flagpoles to pay homage to sports teams and political views. Sports memorabilia, such as kitchenware, decorations, tailgating gear, and game-worn mascot collars, rounds out the selection for die-hard NFL, MLB, and NCAA fans.
The photos we leave behind may be the only way for future generations to see the styles and personalities we bear. That’s why the professional makeup artists and photographers at Glamour Shots strive to capture the true essence of a person with their shoots. Whether commemorating a milestone event or a successful trip to the grocery store, each session begins with the shop’s signature full airbrush and style makeover, which works to prevent unwanted shine while imparting a chic aesthetic. Makeup artists tailor looks to the purpose of the shoot, imparting children with a red-cheeked glow and boudoir subjects with a dark, seductive color palette.
Photographers encourage everyone to bring a few outfits and props from home, allowing them to give each photo shoot an individualized touch without snapping close-ups of their subjects’ fingerprints. Clients get to see the photos immediately so they can approve the looks and order their favorite shots in the form of pictures, phone cases, or calendars. A professional lab then prints out the chosen items using a range of color finishes—including colorization to make one color pop and the company's signature Glamour Touch retouching—onto made-to-last Kodak paper.